French Open - Stosur kicks off with easy win

Sun, 22 May 22:25:00 2011

Gusty winds and half-empty stands gave no sense of the usual Parisian glamour as last year's French Open runner-up Samantha Stosur began with an easy win.

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Stosur, the eighth-seeded Australian, was broken in the first game but opened up a 4-1 lead and clinched the first set on her opponent's serve as she proved more consistent from the baseline on a sunbathed court Philippe Chatrier.

Stosur then broke in the sixth game of the second set and held serve to wrap up a straightforward win after 68 minutes when Benesova netted a routine backhand.

She will next face Romanian Simona Halep, who beat Russia's Alla Kudryavtseva 6-2 6-1.

Stosur, who lost to Italian Francesca Schiavone in last year's final, said she had fully recovered from a virus she was suffering from last week.

"I feel fine out there now, so I guess it's good to get this one out of the way," she said at a news conference.

"The conditions weren't always so easy with some gusts of wind and whatever else, but, yeah, overall, very happy," she continued, after noticing with a smile that there "weren't quite as many people this time".

The clay court French Open is the only Grand Slam event to start on a Sunday rather than the traditional Monday and the feeling is quite bizarre, according to Stosur.

"With all the others not doing it, it definitely is a bit of, not a shock, but it's just weird knowing that, okay, my tournament starts on Sunday and then I think you get two days off now," she explained.

"So it's just a bit of a different feel, and I guess there's still a lot more people here practising today than playing matches."

Serbian Jelena Jankovic, a three-times semi-finalist in Paris, was also untroubled on court Suzanne Lenglen as she breezed past Ukraine's Alona Bondarenko 6-3 6-1.

Russian 13th seed Svetlana Kuznetsova, the 2009 champion, experienced few problems in a 6-2 6-3 defeat of Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia, while 14th seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia breezed past Kazakh Yaroslava Shvedova 7-5 6-3.

Elsewhere on the courts the highest profile casualty in the first round was Israeli 19th seed Shahar Peer, who slumped out 7-6 6-1 at the hands of Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez.

French women players wore a black ribbon in memory of Virginie Razzano's coach and fiance Stephane Vidal, who died of a brain tumour earlier this month.

"It's really moving for all of us, and I'm a good friend of Virginie's. I play with her, I play doubles with her. We wanted to do something," said Alize Cornet, who booked her place in the second round with a straight sets victory over Renata Voracova.

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